How to register a startup online in Nigeria

A step-by-step guide on how you can register your startup online using the new CAC e-registration portal.

How to register a startup online in Nigeria

Registering your startup is imperative as one of the first things to do in its nascent years. Ideally, you are expected to submit your application for registration within 28 days of operation.

CAC was set up by the Companies and Allied Matters Act (CAMA) as the body responsible for registering companies in Nigeria. The electronic registration portal is end-to-end, and it allows for self-service by customers, but it’s essential to consult a corporate lawyer or an accredited agent to work and guide you through the process.

Accredited agents are persons (s) or institutions certified by the CAC to process and submit pre-incorporation and post-incorporation filings on behalf of individuals and businesses. An accredited agent can be a Lawyer, Chartered Accountant, or Chartered Secretary.

On CAC’s registration portal you can explore features such as recognition of electronic signatures, data submission and document upload and printing of certificate of registration anywhere in the world on the e-registration portal.

All of these can be done when you visit the Companies Registration Portal (CRP) through these links: https://pre.cac.gov.ng/home and https://post.cac.gov.ng/login.

However, here’s a step-by-step guide on how you can register your startup online using the CAC e-registration portal.

Create your electronic registration portal

To begin, you must create an account with CAC before registering your company. The account would allow you to submit documents and statutory returns to the commission by electronic means.

You can create an account here, while you proceed to log in here. To start your company registration process, go to the CAC official website and log on to the e-registration portal.

Search Available Company Name

To register your company, you must first register a name unique to your startup brand and not yet assigned to any other company in Nigeria. However, a name may be disallowed if it currently exists or is too similar to an existing business name, or it is a corporate disallowed word, such as 'Government', or 'Council' e.t.c without the necessary authorization.

To search if your intended startup name is available, go to the Public Search section and click on Search Now. You can try other names if your preferred startup name is already taken.

Reserve company name

After you have confirmed that your startup name has not been taken and is available, the next step is to reserve your preferred company name. You can do this by clicking the reserve company name now on the home page.

Fill in all the required details including your company type, proposed company name and objectives. After you enter all the necessary information under each column, then you have to complete a payment of ₦500. If the business name reservation is successful, you will get an approval note containing a name availability code within 24 hours.

Register your Company

Immediately you get the availability code, enter it in the space provided on your portal to continue the company registration process, or click on Start here under Pre-incorporation on the Home page. After the code is verified, proceed to the Registration Form CAC 1.1 and fill in the required information.

For particulars of your company, details you have to enter include the nature of the principal business your company will be engaged in, company email address and registered office address.

For information on company directors and shareholders, input personal data – name, date of birth, gender, phone number, means of identification and the percentage of shares to be held by each director.

You can engage the services of a Legal Practitioner to complete section E of the form – statutory declaration of compliance with the requirements of CAMA and to draft your Articles of Association.

Then ensure that you pay the stipulated CAC registration fee (which varies by company type and size) plus stamp duty. The payment can be done online via Remita.

You should also upload the following documents: approval note printout, registration form CAC 1.1, CAC payment receipt, identification of directors and shareholders, stamp duty certificate, memorandum and Articles of Association, and Certificate of Incorporation of the company secretary (if applicable).

Closing Thoughts

Upon completion of company registration and approval by the CAC, the company's Certificate of Incorporation will be available on your account, so you can easily download and print it out. The registration can be completed within two to seven working days as long as there is no unexpected delay or constraints.